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Ferries honored for successful fuel conservation program

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Date:  Monday, October 22, 2012

Contact:

Marta Coursey , WSF director of communications, 206-515-3918 (Seattle)

SEATTLE – A highly skilled team of state employees was recognized this year for its innovative work to conserve fuel and save the state of Washington more than $700,000 per year.

Crew members of the Washington State Department of Transportation’s Ferries Division won the President’s Transportation Award for water transportation and were recognized for their exemplary service to save fuel on the Edmonds/Kingston ferry route. This is the second time that Washington State Ferries (WSF), a division of WSDOT, has won an award sponsored by the American Association of State and Highway Transportation Officials.

Beginning in 2010, three WSF employees – Staff Chief Engineer Mark Nitchman, Captain John Tullis and retired Captain Bill Chapple – collaborated to identify a method to save fuel on one of the largest vessels in the system, the 202-car, 2,500-passenger Puyallup, serving the Edmonds/Kingston route. The Edmonds/Kingston route is 5.2 miles one way and is one of the most well-traveled routes in the system, serving more than 3.8 million riders and more than 2 million vehicles in 2011.

“Thanks to the ingenuity of these employees, WSF found a way to conserve fuel and save money without sacrificing on-time performance or a commitment to customer service,” said Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond.

The employees studied the effect of vessel speed on fuel consumption and suggested revised throttle settings to maximize fuel efficiency. Following a successful pilot project, WSDOT management adopted and implemented their suggestion, which is now the operating standard for the vessels on the route. These fuel conservation efforts have also helped reduce vessel exhaust emissions.

“Their careful analysis and recommendations means that this route saves 15,000 gallons of fuel per month and 180,000 gallons per year,” said David Moseley, assistant secretary for WSDOT’s ferries division. “I am proud of their extraordinary achievement and the hard work and commitment of all WSF employees.”

Learn more about AASHTO’s America’s Transportation Awards competition.                                                   
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